- For the history of the pre-1970 university see Catholic University of Leuven#History.
In 1968 tensions between the Dutch-speaking and French-speaking communities led to the splitting of the bilingual Catholic University of Leuven into two "sister" universities, with the Dutch-language university becoming a fully functioning independent institution in Leuven in 1970, and the Université Catholique de Louvain departing to a newly built, greenfield campus site in the French-speaking part of Belgium. Pieter De Somer became the first rector of the KU Leuven.
In 1972 the KU Leuven set up a separate entity, "Leuven Research & Development" (LRD), to support industrial and commercial applications of university research. It has led to numerous spin-offs, such as the technology companies Option and Metris, and manages tens of millions of euros in investments and venture capital.
On 11 July 2002 the KU Leuven became the dominant institution in the "KU Leuven Association" (see below).
Read more about this topic: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
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